Events, India, Tamil

Dravidian proof of the Indus script

First a disclaimer, I know nothing about epigraphy and I can write in one post card what I know about language (Old Tamil) and history including Indus Valley. I attended the talk today out of curiosity and to listen in person to Mr.Iravatham Mahadevan. I took limited notes of the talk, so I may have misunderstood some, so please refer to the actual paper for correct following.

Padma Shri award winning Indian epigraphist Mr.Iravatham Mahadevan (IM) delivered today evening in Roja Muthiah Research Library (RMRL), what the scholars hosting the talk proudly claimed as a historic talk. This was the first public presentation by Mr.Mahadevan titled “Dravidian Proof of the Indus Script via The Rig Veda: A Case Study”. The man at 84 years was frail, his voice feeble but his energy on the subject, his urge to unravel the mysteries of Indus Valley Script was super clear and infectious. The small hall at RMRL was filled with nearly hundred experts (excluding myself) and there was pin drop silence (a rarity in India) to listen carefully to Mr.Mahadevan.

Mr.Iravatham Mahadevan presenting - 14 Nov 2014

Mr.Iravatham Mahadevan presenting – 14 Nov 2014

The presentation began by listing 4 signs (or symbols) named for convenience as ABCD, reading right to left. The four ideograms are the following:

A – looks like a “Back of wolf”, a four legged animal with no face meaning the real identification of the animal not important, its more of an object/asset

B – looks like a Hook, receive

C – looks like crossroads, village

D – looks like a Jar, a most frequent occurrence in Indus script, almost 10%. Frequently appears in the end

From this, Mr.Mahadevan arrives using various techniques to deduce Old Tamil (Dravidian) root words with the nearest literal meanings and use a technique called “rebus” which uses images to indicate the (pronunciation of) a letter (for example he said letter I in English can be shown with an image of Eye).

In the first process, he deduces the Old Tamil root words for these 4 signs. By this,

A – is மாறு as in மகாகவி பாரதியார் பாடல் வரிகள்:

கங்கை நதிப்புறத்துக் கோதுமைப் பண்டம்
காவிரி வெற்றிலைக்கு மாறுகொள்ளுவோம்

where மாறு indicates “Barter”, extending to “Merchant”

B – is கொள் as in மாறுகொள்

C – is Village, (Proper Noun) a Resident of a village, பாடி as in ஆயர்பாடி/காட்பாடி. Another meaning is வாழ் as in வாழ்கிறான், வாழ் in old Tamil is to differentiate between living and to live prosperous

D – is like ‘அன்’ as in மஹாதேவன் to indicate masculine gender

Reading all  the 4 signs together we can arrive at மாறு கொள் பாடி அன், from this he arrives at proper forms to “One who receives barter and lives in the city”. In other words, “Merchant of the city

In the second process, he deduces the 4 signs to be the root words of names of later day Pandian Kings, who were probably descendant of Indus Valley who retained the names without knowing the meaning.

A – மாறு, மாறன் – meaning Barterer – now a Pandia King

B – செழி, செழியன் – meaning he of lightning – now a Pandia King

C – பாடி, பாண்டி, பாண்டியன் – meaning the prosperous – now a Pandia King

C – வாழி, வழுதி  – meaning he of the city – now a Pandia King

In the third process, he deduces the 4 signs to arrive at Rig Veda days Sanskrit names including the god name “Pusan”. I didn’t follow the Sanskrit names properly so couldn’t take notes on that. He mentioned instances of how some of the names (words) in Rig Veda could have been wrongly understood (myths created), and understanding their root words from Indus Script can explain the intended meaning of those words.

I remember in one place he using the word “அம்பல்” to indicate “அம்பலம்” which means Assembly as in அம்பலப்படுத்துதல்  (bring it out in open village assembly).

By the above 3 process, Mr.Mahadevan concludes the following 3 points:

  1. The Language of Indus civilization was an early form of Dravidian
  2. Due to migration of a section of the Indus population southwards, they formed some settlements in South India
  3. (Rig) Vedic age succeeded the Indus civilization. The Rig Veda is a product of cross composite


Chennai, Events, Management

TiECon Chennai 2014

The Chennai chapter of TiE (a global body for encouraging Entrepreneurship) organizes an annual conference called TiECON. TiECON Chennai 2014 happened for last two days at ITC Grand Chola.

Day 1

In parallel to breakouts there was “Pitchfest”, which was speed dating for investors and start-ups. I got the opportunity to listen to about 8-9 start-up pitches, I was pleasantly surprised to see so many in my “conservative” Chennai. Pitchfest included ideas like Integrated Farming, Water purification, Recruitment (Overseas jobs), Drones, Life Sciences (Analytics), Education (Examination solutions) and Technology (Contextual Mobility, Customer Retention, Real estate management, IOT, Energy Analytics). Best wishes to all of them. Chennai and India has come a long way in terms of encouraging entrepreneurs and having an ecosystem for them from the time I started business nearly two decades back.

Kritik Abiram ( & Venkatarangan TNC (

With Kritik Abiram of

Day 2

Lakshmi Narayanan (President of TiE Chennai) began the day by quoting my good friend Pravin Shekar on how Entrepreneurs need to be shameless. Knowing Pravin well I am not surprised on he being shameless, he is the best show man in business world I know. He introduced the next speaker V.Vaidyanathan of Capital First, by recalling an incident in an Aircraft, where Vaidyanathan blocking the aisle for few minutes delivering his elevator pitch (a sky pitch?) to Raghuram Rajan, Governor of RBI.

Pravin Shekar,

Pravin Shekar,

Continue reading

Chennai, Events, Writers

Book writing competition award function

Two weeks back I was in my desk at office trying hard to (pretending) work. I can hear you say it doesn’t really matter, who in management really work nowadays. It may be true but we will discuss that on a different day. My extension rang, not to give an impression I am free I waited for 4 rings before answering. It was from my front office informing me of a visitor. The visitor was Jayalakshmi Thirugnanam, the founder and editor of CosyReading – a Book Reading community.  I am not a writer nor an advertiser, while I was wondering on that Jaya began by inviting me to an award function happening later in the month. And that’s how I came to be in Besant Nagar “Spaces” today evening giving a speech and distributing prizes along with notables of the city. 2014 award function 2014 award function

The evening event was for awards distribution for budding writers across categories – short story, romance, poetry, fantasy, children’s fiction and romance. The jury who read the entries and selected the winners  are Swarnalatha Bhaskaran, Sandhya Sridhar, R.J. Kalpana and Latha Ramesh. I was happy to be sharing the stage with Tamil Publisher Gandhi Kannadasan, SSLF City Founder G.Sakthivel and a young 13 year old author Yamini Prashant.


When I entered the venue (“spaces”) which is opposite to Besant Nagar Elliots Beach I was surprised to find a large audience. The venue itself was beautiful and serene. I was asked by Jaya to speak first,  putting lot of faith in my ability not to make the crowd thin out quickly.


This is what I spoke:

“The other day when I visited Citi Centre Landmark I saw they were having a closing sale. Though I was happy to get some books at good discounts I was sad to see one more bookstore closing. I was buying all my books online from Flipkart or BookAdda but thinking more on this back home I realized I was actually buying and reading more books than ever. The online shops have made it easier and affordable to buy books. With my Amazon Kindle I can choose from millions of titles, hitherto inaccessible for someone outside the country in which it got published. Add to this sites like GoodReads or CosyReading bring in a dynamic community to the mix. Considering all this I feel our present time (21st Century) is the best time to be a reader (and/or a writer) in the history of humankind. Never before we had the access and opportunity to read this many books.
Today there are a new set of writers who are coming in. These are not journalist or who we view as traditional full time writers. These are professionals like Engineers, Entrepreneurs, Doctors, Bankers who have achieved and have taken up writing bringing in their writing, an accuracy about their past profession which was unprecedented. For example look at these books.
1. A dead computer game company billionaire killing people and taking over the world using an Internet Daemon. The book “Daemon” by Daniel Suarez who was a computer consultant for defense and fortune firms.
2. Entire alien civilization going crazy over Human music from 1977. Having become indebted to Earth for pirating they reach to a budding lawyer Nick Carter in New York mistaking him to be Nick Carter of Backstreet boys. This is “Year Zero” by Rob Reid who is founder of Rhapsody.
Back home in India we have two examples:
3. “The Steradian trail“, a murder mystery and a computer algorithm thriller by IITian M.N.Krish. Where Maths genius Srinivasa Ramanujan and our own Chennai are important characters.
4. Rishi Piparaiya, the head of sales and marketing with a large financial service MNC has written a humorous take on the boredom of today’s Air travel in his book “Aisle be damned
The above books are not business books, not technical books, they are all fiction written by professionals.
I am not an author but a blog writer, I write my blogs as a de-stressing mechanism, a way to move bits from my biological memory to digital where I can share them to everyone and not repeat my experience everytime. Finally I am the biggest reader of my blog, if I don’t read my blog myself often who else will. I enjoy the writing and reading.
In summary today is the best time to be a writer. Start writing”.
Then the other notables had their turn at the podium. First it was Yamini, the young author.
Yamini – it was astounding to hear this girl speak. Great clarity in her expression and voice. It was a delight to see the pride in the faces of her parents who were sitting in the back. Yamini talked of her dejection after 49 publishers rejected her first book script, but she kept trying. Many of them writing back that they publish books for children and not by children. Finally the 50th publisher, a small timer agreed to publish her work and then she became a sensation. Yamini’s mother posed this “for children and not by children” rule as a question to Gandhi Kannadasan, who deftly replied it to be due to publishers being not able to separate real child talent over a work by an over-protective mother. Gandhi added an example on how the mom’s prepare and spoon-feed kids for a simple painting competition in Chennai Book Fair, thereby destroying any creativity left in the child.

G.Saktivel – a self made entrepreneur attributed half of his success to the great books he read. He added “எதிர்காலம் மட்டுமல்ல நிகழ்காலமும் எழுத்தாளர்களின் கையில் தான் உள்ளது”, meaning not only future the present is also in the hands of writers.

Gandhi Kannadasan – the son of legendary Tamil writer Kannadasan, is a delight to listen. He advised writers about the six Rs to keep in mind — Read, Refer, Remember, Respect, Refuse and Recreate. He quoted example of how his father remembers everything he read, whether its the style of a poem he read in a newspaper in 1950s using it in a song he wrote in 1960s; similarly borrowing from Shakespear style of a paragraph in one of his other song. He stressed on the need to refer a lot, especially Google the facts before you write.

After the event driving back home I was looking back at what turned out to be a fine evening with lot to think about. Thank you Jaya!


Chennai, Events, Music

Thiru M.S.Viswanathan CD Relaunch

Few months back Mr.Kamesh Bavaratnam (@kameshratnam) contacted me through Twitter asking if I had any Gramophone records of Mellisai Mannar (King of Melodies) Thiru M.S.Viswanathan (MSV). That’s how we started one of our many messages over past few weeks. Thanks to an invite from him I went for today’s Relaunch event of MSV’s Thrilling Thematic Tunes Album by


I learnt that this Album was originally launched in 1970s during a time when MSV was at his career peak working endlessly on Tamil Film music compositions. HMV had worked with MSV in bringing out this compilation of his individual tracks titled “Thrilling Thematic Tunes”. The album’s LP Record was the first in South India to be made in (then)Stereophonic system. The album contains tracks of varied themes  including Reminiscences, Village/Urban divide, War, Train Track, East-West Wedding, Melody & Lord Krishna’s Rasa Leela.

I was born in 1970s, so by the time I started watching Tamil Film’s it was all Ilaiyaraja. Even then I was touched by MSV music. Two of my all time favourite songs are composed by him, one is Romantic  “Mannikka Mattaya” (மன்னிக்க மாட்டாயா) from the film Janani (1985) and the other Spiritual “Pullanguzhal Kodutha” (புல்லாங்குழல் கொடுத்த மூங்கில்களே) penned by legendary Kaviarasu Kannadasan. Apart from this I have listened many times his compositions of older movies including M.G.R’s Anbe Vaa (1966),  Nagesh starring Kadalikka Neramillai (1964) & Sivagi Ganesan’s Karnan (1964). In latter movies that I probably watched in theatres I like his compositions on Mohan’s Mela Thiranthathu Kadhavu (1986), Kamal’s Simla Special (1982), S.Ve.Shekar’s Manal Kayiru (1982), Rajini’s Thillu Mullu (1981) and Kamal/Rajini’s Ninaithale Inikkum (1979).

Today’s launch event venue was Russian Cultural Hall, Kasturi Ranga Road, Chennai. The event started late by 60 minutes at 7PM instead of 6PM due to late arrival of chief guest who I suppose was delayed by his old age. A video clip of Kannadasan was shown where he recollects his trip with MSV to Afghanistan & Soviet Union, he mentions how MSV mesmerized the audience by his replaying of Russian composer Tchaikovsky when they visited a concert hall in Russia. In today’s event the dignitaries on stage were accomplished octogenarian’s and they recollected fascinating tales about the humbleness & dedication to music by MSV, it was quite an inspiring event.

Saregama have released the entire album in YouTube here, enjoy.


Books, Chennai, Events

Chennai Puthaga Sangamam

Regular readers of this blog are familiar with my fondness for books and spending lot of money in book fairs. This week in Chennai there is a new book fair titled Chennai Puthaga Sangamam  organized by National Book Trust & PSRPI .The venue was YMCA Royapettah (opposite to Royappetah General Hospital) which is different from YMCA Nandanam grounds where annual Chennai Book Fair happens. Today I went to check out this fair which is being held from 18-27 April 2014. The YMCA grounds at Royappetah had sufficient car parking which is rarity now in the city,  the hall was less crowded which made it comfortable to check out each stall and the books they carried.


It was pretty much in the same template as Chennai Book Fair with over 200 book stalls, mostly Tamil publishers and local distributors.


I had bought tons of books this January in the Chennai Book Fair 2014, so I tried my best to come out with buying just one book. The book I purchased was Digital Photography by Steve Luck, though its a 2006 edition I got the GBP 14.99 book for a steal at Rs.230 and it was in mint condition.